The Duck Crusade in Grogzilla #2

I’ve jumped into Kickstarter’s ZineQuest promotion with Grogzilla #2, which is the follow up to last years…Grogzilla #1 🙂

At the heart of it is an OpenQuest powered adventure called the Duck Crusade, which is a Grimdark Quest with a firm sense of humour, much like the early GW Warhammer Fantasy Battle releases (McDeath for example).  It features the Crusader Ducks of Fort Fury, who are trying to regain their homeland which has been overrun by Cultists of Corruption who worship the Great Terror Lizard, GROGZILLA!

The Duck Crusade is a one-shot adventure, with its own self contained setting and a set of six pre-made duck characters, so you can just pick it up and play it in one to two gaming sessions.

If you fancy backing it, here’s the link

​Dan Barker is on art duties and he’s already produced this illustration which will grace the back cover of the zine.

The Duck Crusade by Dan Barker

OpenQuest 3 is done!

Well, my bit anyway. I’m pleased to announce that OQ 3rd edition, was sent over to its Editor/Proofreader yesterday evening for a final check. Its got a table of contents, an index and a set of cross-references ( “see page xx” ) that are all lovingly hyperlinked in the pdf, which is also fully bookmarked. So I expect that to come back within two weeks, in which time I’ll be sending out pdf’s to backers and opening a pre-order for non-backers.

Jonny Gray on board to illustrate The Saga of the Savage North

I had a day of great excitement yesterday. Not only I’m I 2/3 of the way through cleaning up the 1st layout draft (and I would have been 100% if I hadn’t had to leave the house to travel across the city to get stabbed in the non-dominant arm!) but Jonny Gray, who has done many of the pieces in the main rulebook, is also down to do LOTS of brooding dark B&W art for the Savage North. Which is cool because I was on his Patreon when he had a spell of doing pseudo-Viking and savage Barbarian art, and it inspired me to dust off the Savage North setting and do something with it.

If you are not familiar with Jonny’s work, here’s a gentle reminder.

OpenQuest Quickstart Cover by Jonny Gray

OpenQuest Quickstart Cover © Jonny Gray

Art by Jonny Gray

OpenQuest We’ve Got You Covered!

Big update on OpenQuest 3rd edition.

Jon Hodgson has delivered the goods on the Five stretch goal supplements, also I’m reusing the cover from OQ Refreshed to provide the cover for the Early Bird Quickstart Adventure, and finally Jonny Gray provides the cover for the OpenQuest Quickstart: The Lost Outpost.

So we’ve got covers, erm covered 🙂

Here’s the whole lot as previews, click on image for a bigger version.

The Clockwork Palace by Jon Hodgson

The Clockwork Palace © Jon Hodgson

OpenQuest Companion cover by Jon Hodgson

OpenQuest Companion © Jon Hodgson

the Book of Duck cover

The Book of Duck © Jon Hodgson

OpenQuest Dungeons cover

OpenQuest Dungeons © Jon Hodgson

The Saga of the Savage North Cover

The Saga of the Savage North © Jon Hodgson

Catching the Wyrm cover by Jon Hodgson

Catching the Wyrm ©Jon Hodgson

OpenQuest Quickstart Cover by Jonny Gray

OpenQuest Quickstart Cover © Jonny Gray

OpenQuest Dungeons

The Book of Duck (working title)

The Clock Work Palace

OpenQuest at Layout Proof!

Behold! Witness the marvellous moment where I print off a complete copy of OpenQuest 3rd Edition, to do a layout-proof.

Some photos showing off the layout, which is a work in progress.

OQ3 Layout Proof – Characters

OQ3 Layout Proof -The Quest

OQ3 Layout Proof – Sorcery

OQ3 Layout Proof – Creatures

OQ3 Layout Proof – Creatures

OQ3 Layout Proof – Empire of Gatan, The Five Emperors

 

Welcome to the Shambles

Catching the Wyrm is the Early Bird Quickstart that people who backed the Kickstarter in the first 48 hours, and Art Level backers, will be receiving. This Quickstart adventure is a little different from what I normally write for OpenQuest. Its made of up the first two adventure areas of a bigger ruined city known as The Shambles. It’s not quite what older roleplayers call a Sandbox, where the adventure presents the information that the characters may encounter as they make their own way around the unifying adventure location, more what I call a Toybox. Where I present various objects or Toys (adventure locatinos, non-player characters, rumours, encounters ) that the referee can place together to create an adventure.

So with that in mind, let’s see what is in this particular Toy Box.

A Taste of the Shambles. A quick introduction to this ruined city, its history and the current state of affairs. This gives an overview of fo the complete package.

Adventure Areas This Quickstart has features two Adventure Areas from the city.

  • Tent Town. A mishmash of scavengers, professional treasure hunters and wise people keeping watch over the ruined city, right next to its walls.
  • The Squares. A residential area just inside the walls, with Tent Town on the other side. So-called because the houses are built around squares, each of which have a different focus for the well to do residents that once lived there.

The Quest of Catching the Wyrm. This is the adventure itself in a short digestible form that draws already detailed information from the Locations.

Non-Player Characters Rooster. All the character profiles (or references to the relevant page in the main OpenQuest rulebook).

Design Notes.

Unlike the publically released Quickstart Adventure, which comes with its own concise version of OpenQuest, this Quickstart pulls from the main rulebook, for both a wider collection of magic spells and creatures.

Also, the adventure will feature the three characters and the Dragon (!) that feature on the cover of OpenQuest 3rd Edition (and the detail of which is used for the banner for this site) 🙂

OpenQuest outside of the Kickstarter

I’ve slowed down considerably in the run-up to Christmas, but it’s not seen any slacking in getting OpenQuest stuff done. At the same time, Paul (Mitchener) and Peter (Cakebread) are going through the first draft of OQ3 with a fine-tooth come, a job that should be done any second now. Meanwhile, I’ve been beavering away on various things that are outside of the Kickstarter deliverables’ work while related and help bring clarity.

OpenQuest Thursdays. This is my “home” group that got up and running sometime online in October. I’m using it playtest the Quickstart adventures, that I’m producing for Kickstarter Backers. It’s going tremendously well. On a personal level, it reunited me with a couple of my old friends who have played in games that have shaped what OpenQuest is today.

OpenQuest World. At this point, this is probably only exciting to me. My “publisher head” remains unconvinced 🙂 Back in October, I stopped doing my Gloranthan fanzines, which while disappointing to Gloranthafans, meant that I could reclaim the bits of the adventures/setting info that aren’t Gloranthan IP. Kick out Orlanth and the Gang, and I’ve got stuff I can revise and reshape for OpenQuest releases. With my creative head freed up from pondering Gloranthan this and that, It had to look at another setting. And it found and fixed in its gaze the nascent setting that is detailed via OpenQuest 2 and its setting/adventure books (except Crucible of Dragons), and notes I made for unreleased stuff. And suddenly a coherent narrative of a fantasy world emerges. Not just the snapshot of the late Dark Ages/early Medieval Empire of Gatan anymore, there’s a whole Ancient World and even an Age of Reason/Enlightenment period now. I’ve started work on a “setting bible”, a set of bullet-pointed/brief notes on all the ‘facts’ of this setting, in a form that both myself and future OQ authors can use. The immediate effect on books is that the default setting, because don’t get me wrong OQ is not tied into this, will be a bit more joined-up

Empire’s Edge (working title). This one developed out of the OpenQuest Thursday Quickstart adventure playtest sessions. This will be a short setting/adventure book that focuses on the Eastern Imperial Borderlands, particularly the County of Mitchdale and a series of adventures that introduces bigger concepts of day to day life in the Empire of Gatan. While I have plans to do a bigger treatment of the Empire, called Dark Corners of the Empire, later on in 2022, this gets you started with an introductory arc of adventures that will probably come out in 2021.

Back into work on the various OpenQuest deliverables for the Kickstarter campaign in earnest tomorrow, but I thought it would be exciting to share with you some of the stuff happening on the edges.

 

Until the Fearless Come at Grogmeetish 2020

Grogmeetish 2020 was the Grognard Files podcast’s virtual convention which was held online this Saturday just gone. Normally it is held in Manchester at Fanboy Three.  Upfront I’d like to thank Chris Hart (aka Dirk the Dice) for organising the event.

Due to family commitments, I could only put forward one game, so I decided to run the final part of my Swords and Sorcery/Barbarian bloodfest set in the frozen Savage North, Until the Fearless Come. Previous adventures also played out online, have told the tale of the downfall of Mad King Morgus the Drooler, and the succession of his wife Queen Haldra to the throne of Sonderland. In this, the last part of the trilogy, entitled Rites of Passage, that will be published in upcoming Saga of the Savage North setting and adventure book next year, Queen Haldra has received word that her ex-husband has fled across the frozen sea to the Kingdom of Foundhaven. Seeking to end disputes to her rule, she summons the player characters, a motley crew of Barbarian Warriors, to her court and gives them the task of bringing Morgus home, dead or alive.

The characters have to travel to Foundhaven across the icy Dragon Sea from Sonderland, so the first part is messing about in a big longship. Foundhaven is a land of people who fled their old monster-infested homeland hundreds of years ago, settled in a new wildland and lived in dread of the monsters catching up with them.  Without giving much away their doom has caught up with them and the player characters quickly get involved in a monster hunt shortly after stepping off the boat.

Until the Fearless Comes continues a couple of themes that previous adventures have kept to.

  1. It’s the Journey, not the Dungeon that is interesting.
  2. The movers and shakers are present and given stats.
  3. It used the One-Magic system.

Okay, let’s go into each point in more detail.

1 While there are mini-dungeons or dungeon-like environment, they are quick three or four encounter location affairs. I’ve no interest of making Savage North sinister sorcerers, crafty rogues or mighty thewed barbarians, crawl along corridors and deal with minor encounters that are beneath them. Instead, they are travelling the length and breadth of the land going to the interesting places that I’ve previously only mentioned in the setting’s gazetteer, meeting interesting people. Talking of which…

2. I’ve long been bothered by the trend in D100 books where there the big power players of the setting are described in a pen picture, but given no stats. I get it. There’s an expectation that the players will never go toe to toe with such characters and that it’s a lot of work detailing such high-level characters in game terms. So why bother. OpenQuest being more straightforward has less of a stat block (or profile as I’m calling it), and the Savage North is full of tales where some King or powerful hero met their demise at the hands of a wandering warrior. Swords and Sorcery literature is full of examples where the main protagonist comes up against the movers and shakers of the setting.

3. The One Magic system, which will appear in the OpenQuest Companion, was used for the previous games and worked wonderfully as a quick, no-nonsense magic system that new players, as well as seasoned players, can pick up and run with. It also works well with larger-than life world of Swords and Sorcery.

The game was Mega Gaming Fun, with OpenQuest’s fast-moving straightforward system supporting the fast-paced free-wheeling Barbarian action. Monsters were discovered and slain, and vengeance was had, but whether the Queendom was saved is questionable (and outside the confines of a 3 1/2 hour convention scenario).

Art by Jonny Gray

This post is part of D101’s Dark November promotion. Follow @d101games on Twitter, where I’ll be holding prize draws and announcing flash sales.